I think I broke it

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Sagebrush, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. My family has really been getting into dutch oven cooking over the last year or so, with even my 11 and 15 year old cooking. In the past we have usually cleaned up by boiling water and pouring it in the pot and scrubbing. I had seen someone else placing water in their oven and then boiling and scrubbing on the camp stove. I tried it this last weekend and it worked great, until my son noticed we had a crack in the bottom of the oven. So, I gather this was not a good method. How do others clean their ovens while camping?
  2. Putting cold water into a dutch oven and bringing it to a boil over a camp stove should pose no problem whatsoever...I do it all the time when something is really stuck.
    I try to avoid sudden temperature changes, like pouring boiling water into a cold dutch oven, as this is more likely to cause a crack. Cast iron can also crack by dropping, banging together, etc.
  3. What Lonnie said. Seriously though the only ovens I've cracked happened in transport or were dropped.
  4. The crack was probably always there...think of a cast iron fry pan and the extremes they go through. I am sure it just got a lot bigger from the thermal shock.

    Keeping thermal shock to a minimum is always best, but adding 212 deg water to a pan that is at room temp is much of a shock anyway. Just think of the shock of preheating a pan by putting it over a gas burner.
  5. Interesting. The water was cool, not cold and I did start the heat at medium, eventually increasing the heat to get it boiling. I don't think that the oven was dropped or banged around, although on a camping trip that is always a possibility. I wonder if the quality of the oven had anything to do with it. It was an American Outback, maybe not the best brand. Over all I think I need to be more cautious.
    So how do all of you clean your ovens in the field? Any recommended replacement brands?
  6. Lodge or Camp Chef. Make sure they are properly seasoned. I like to put a thin coat of Crisco in the oven prior to cooking as it will make clean-up easier.
    Lots of hot water and a plastic scrubber. If it's really stuck on there, I fill with water and bring to a boil, let it sit, then hit it with the plastic scrubber.
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  7. Second Lonnie's thoughts: Lodge & Camp Chef all the way!
  8. Yup, how I clean mine. Try to clean them ASAP too. If you can hit it while pan is still hot, will help get some of the krusties off. Funny how when they cool it's actually WORSE alot of times.
  9. I haven't done the Crisco, but I'll try that next time. We clean off pretty quickly after eating, although on this last trip I made sticky rolls on the last day which bubbled over and I didn't clean the outside. Its like rock now. Not sure what to do with this oven, I guess I'll use it for back up.
    Any major differences between the two brands?
  10. Not from a functionality standpoint. The Camp Chef "Classics" are almost identical to the Lodge. Their other line have feet on the lid and the lid is flat instead of slightly domed. This allows the lid to be used as a skillet. The Camp Chef have some cool graphics. Check out their website....
    Whichever brand you buy, I recommend getting them preseasoned. Saves some initial work.
  11. What ever you do with the cracked dutch oven don't throw it out. Keep it and use it for baking. put three or for pebbles on the bottom then set you pie pan on that to keep what ever you are baking off of the bottom to prevent burning.

    I always recure after cleaning/washing by heating it up evaporating any remaining water then wiping the inside down with cooking oil. Don't worry to much about the outside, that gives your oven character.
  12. I was wondering what to do with this, seemed like a waste to throw it out. Is there much difference between using cooking oil or Crisco for the inside? I figured the crack would give it plenty of character..
  13. I have a 14" skillet that popped a center stress crack on one of the first heats some thirty years ago... with use, the crack filled in with carbon and it works just fine for frying... might leak a bit on a simmer, but that helps to keep the crack sealed!!
  14. Whenever you wash cast iron with soap, you need to season it again. Try mixing a little bit of water with sand, even dirt. You would be surprised how abrasive that stuff is. After you get all the crusties out, rinse with clean water and dry over a slow heat. It doesn't hurt to wipe it with some kind of cooking oil. That is not seasoning, just a rust inhibitor.
  15. Fisherman's Marine Supply in Portland had a 20% off fathers day sale on iron. Bought a per-seasoned 12" Lodge dutch oven at a nice price. Very nicely made,
    cant wait to try it out on our next outing.

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